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Issue #1718      February 10, 2016

Uber is the Walmart of transport

It is a US transnational corporation determined to undermine all local transport agencies and like all multinationals it will avoid paying local taxes and scurry all its cash to a tax haven. The current affordability of this service is just the first step in undermining competition be they old-school taxi companies or public transport. Uber is sitting on investor cash, some $62.5 bn (£31 bn) so it can afford to burn billions in order to knock out any competitors.

With investors like Google, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs behind it, Uber is a perfect example of a company whose global expansion has been facilitated by the inability of governments to tax profits made by hi-tech and financial giants.

A country’s Infrastructure policy is directly dependent on its economic policy; one cannot flourish without the active support of the other. Decades of clever tax avoidance by multinationals in Australia has been actively facilitated by traitorous politicians of Labor or Liberal ilk.

The policy of “buying back the farm” was buried along with the Whitlam government in 1975. It was Hawke and Keating that put in the final boot. Since then there has been a lack of resources and laws for the Australian Tax Office, combined with strict adherence to the austerity agenda and “make the people pay” legislation.

Let us not be naive: Wall Street and Silicon Valley won’t subsidise transport for ever. The only way for these firms to recoup their investments is by squeezing even more cash or productivity out of Uber drivers or by eventually – once all their competitors are out – raising the costs of the trip.

Next article – The Common Tern – Sauce bottle wants fair shake for UN-bound Krudd

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